Newburgh made the trip over the River Forth to Pumpherston on Saturday to play this Fife & Lothians cup quarter final against the recently crowned Premier league champions Pumpherston.
The league encounter at Recreation Park was an excellent game of football with the home side winning 3 – 1.
The home side started the game well and opened the scoring on the 13th minute when a corner was not cleared properly by the ‘Burgh defence. The ball was eventually turned into the net by Pumpherston’s Grant.
Newburgh rallied from the loss of the goal and took the game to the home side. Newburgh used the wide pitch to their advantage with Gay on the left and Robinson on the right stretching the home defence allowing space in the centre of the park. The home side conceded a series of corners with Newburgh’s pressure eventually paying off in the 24th minute. A vicious in swinging corner from the left was parried by the Pumpherston keeper down into the penalty area. Craig Robinson was first to react volleying the ball home form 8 yards out to give Newburgh a deserved equaliser.
Pumpherston restored their lead within 90 seconds of the re-start. Newburgh’s defence stepped up as one in an attempt to catch Pumpherston’s attack offside but a well-timed run caught Newburgh out. The ball was squared to Murray who made no mistake from 2 yards out to restore the lead.
The remainder of the first half was an end to end affair with both sides relying on some strong defending and excellent goal keeping as attack after attack at either end made this an excellent spectacle for the spectators around the ground.
Newburgh were the happier team at half time having limited Pumpherston to the single goal advantage.
Jack Mackay replaced the injured Logan Cunningham at half time. Newburgh started the second half in fine fashion taking the game to the home side probing for the equaliser. The ‘Burgh created numerous chances as the game progressed with both Craig and Fraser Robinson coming close to scoring. Ryan Smart’s energy in midfield support by strong play from Jack Hutchison was causing the home side problems. Smart was unlucky not to latch on to a through ball from Gay near the hour mark that would have seen him one on one with the keeper.
Newburgh continued to limit the home side to counter attacks as they pushed hard for an equaliser. Johal and Meaney were combining well in the centre of defence for Newburgh holding strong as Newburgh pushed their wide defenders, Milton and Fraser forward to bolster the attack.
Newburgh were struck a hammer blow just on the 64th minute when Pumpherston grabbed the all-important 4th goal of the game to extend their lead. A quick break down the left was cleared by Calum Sutherland as he swept the ball away from the advancing attacker. The ball broke to Anthony about 35 yards from goal who struck the ball first time back into the penalty area over the defence. Sutherland could not get back quickly enough and the ball looped fortuitously into the net.
Newburgh continued to push hard to find their way back into the game but they could not find the vital second goal that would have given them the foot hold that they so deserved.
Scott Sutherland and Craig Nicol were introduced in the last 10 minutes replacing Fraser and Smart, who had both played well throughout the game. Pumpherston managed the last 5 minutes of the game well not allowing Newburgh any opportunities to produce a grandstand finish.
Manager Scott Hudson spoke after the game “As disappointed as I am to have been knocked out of the cup I am really proud of the team. Pumpherston have had a phenomenal season winning our league easily. We have given them two really tough games here at Recreation Park both in the league and the cup. Both of these games could have gone either way showing we are not far away from competing further up the league next season”.
Newburgh travel to Kirkcaldy YM next Saturday to play the first of four group fixtures in the Consolation Cup. This is sure to be a close game with the YM finishing their league campaign with only 1 point less than Newburgh. Kick-off is at 14:30 at Denfield Park Kirkcaldy.